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Saudi Arabia may increase its investments in refining and distribution in the U.S. under the new pro-oil Administration, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, welcoming President Trump’s more fossil-fuel-centered energy priorities.
Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Saudi Aramco currently holds 50 percent in the Motiva Enterprises 50/50 joint venture with Shell that owns and operates three refineries –in Convent and Norco, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas – with a combined refining capacity of around 1.1 million barrels per day.
“President Trump has policies which are good for the oil industries and I think we have to acknowledge it,” al-Falih said in today’s interview.
Referring to President Trump’s promises from the campaign trail that he wants to block all oil imports from Saudi Arabia, al-Falih dodged a direct answer and said, “I believe at the end of the day, the Trump Administration will do the right thing for the United States”.
The Saudi oil minister also stood by his previous position that he is not worried that the U.S. shale rebound would cut into Saudi Arabia’s market share and influence.
“As long as they grow in line with global energy demand, we welcome them,” al-Falih said, referring to U.S. production, and added:
“We have billions of dollars invested in refining and distribution in the United States and we may be increasing that investment on the back of pro-industry, pro-oil and gas policies of the Trump Administration.”
Related: Trump’s Trade War With Mexico Could Crash Natural Gas Prices
Commenting on the picks for Trump’s secretaries in the new Administration, the Saudi oil minister did not spare lavish praises on the Secretary of State choice Rex Tillerson.
“Rex Tillerson is one of the highest-qualified executives I have ever dealt with, he’s a statesman by nature,” the Saudi official said.
Even if Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader of the oil cartel OPEC – from which President Trump wants to unchain U.S. oil imports - al-Falih seemed confident that the ‘Gulf allies’ reference in An America First Energy Plan on the White House website refers to Saudi Arabia, the leader of that group. “Saudi Arabia and the United States cannot afford not to work together in concert to confront the challenges that are facing the world”, al-Falih concluded.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.